Overdose prevention campaign criticized for advocating continued drug use: ‘Do it with friends’
A New York-based group with a specific focus on substance abuse and overdose in one of California’s most populous cities is faced with one of its campaigns encouraging users to continue using drugs in ways that could benefit their personal health .
The National Harm Reduction Coalition (NHRC), which bills itself as “the nationwide advocate and ally for people who use drugs,” is conducting a campaign as part of its Drug Overdose Prevention and Awareness (DOPE) project, which empowers drug users in the space San Francisco encouraged taking drugs in a way that allegedly poses a lower risk of overdose or harm.
A series of DOPE Project posters and ads, produced in “Collaborating with the Real First Responders in San Francisco – People Who Use Drugs,” advises those who continue to use drugs to “do it with friends” or “to change it to” by “taking or smoking instead of sniffing”.
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Another campaign poster, featuring a happy group of drug users, advises to “take it slow” and “take it slow” when using. “Use less at first to test the strength of your medication,” reads one poster.
“Injecting drugs carries the highest risk of overdose, so try smoking or snuffing instead,” reads another poster.
Other posters used by the campaign advise those who use drugs, as well as those who may be around drug users at the time of an overdose, on how to take naloxone – a drug sold under certain brand names such as Narcan, which is well known that it quickly reverses an opioid overdose.
“Together we are better,” reads a poster. “Know the signs of an overdose. Take naloxone with you and know how to use it.”
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While there is little messaging on how addicts can get off drugs, a variety of other posters feature quotes from drug users who said they—or someone they knew—were grateful to have naloxone available during an overdose.
The effort known as the “Know Overdose Campaign” between the DOPE project and NHRC and the San Francisco Department of Public Health has been rebuffed by at least one former California lawmaker.
Melissa Melendez, a Republican who will represent the Golden State’s 28th Senate district from 2020 to 2022, drew attention to the campaign in a tweet earlier this week.
“We have a fentanyl epidemic, and this is how California is addressing the problem,” Melendez wrote. “Shockingly, this is real campaign papers, not satire. This is not damage reduction. That’s not the answer.”
Vicki Nohrden, the Republican nominee for California State Assembly District 30 in the November 2022 election, also criticized the campaign’s move.
“Absolutely outrageous, not solution-oriented result, stupidity at its best”, Nohrden wrote in a tweet.
“The National Harm Reduction Coalition develops evidence-based strategies with and for people who use drugs. In San Francisco, drug users and frontline harm reduction workers reverse more overdoses than any other first responder group,” a spokesman for the group told Fox News Digital. “Thousands of people overdose each year in our city because of drug users and harm reduction workers. The DOPE Project launched an awareness campaign to raise awareness of overdoses in San Francisco. We have worked closely with drug users and frontline harm reduction workers to develop community-specific messages. As of 2020, over 13,000 people in San Francisco have been trained to recognize an overdose and use naloxone to save someone’s life.”
Similarly, Laura Guzman, acting chief executive of the NHRC, said in a statement shared with Fox that “the Know-Overdose campaign was a joint effort by the SF Department of Health and the DOPE Project/NHRC to raise awareness about prevention.” of drug overdoses in light of the slow but significant increase in overdose deaths among drug users in San Francisco.”
“Overdose deaths in SF began to skyrocket after the introduction of fentanyl into our drug supply in 2018,” Guzman said. “What this campaign has done is promote overdose prevention education to communities hardest hit by overdoses and deaths — people who use drugs who are BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc., with important messages from just those affected communities with expertise on this matter.”
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Mayor of San Francisco London Breed state of emergency declared in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 2021 in response to drug overdose deaths.
Breed said the city did 650 overdose deaths in 2021 and at least 700 in 2020.
Fox News’ Ashley Carnahan contributed to this article.
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/overdose-prevention-campaign-criticized-advocating-further-drug-use-do-it-with-friends Overdose prevention campaign criticized for advocating continued drug use: ‘Do it with friends’